The FISA Amendments Act was developed near the end of the George W. Bush administration, when intelligence officials said surveillance was being delayed by the need to get court approvals to conduct surveillance against overseas terrorists. Intelligence agencies said they were missing much of the intelligence they might be able to gather because of these delays.
The original bill was passed in 2008 after a compromise was reached with Democrats aimed at putting in place tougher procedures when the target of overseas surveillance is a U.S. citizen. The law requires a court to authorize the targeting of U.S. citizens, and these court orders can be subject to judicial review.
The 2008 bill also provided retroactive immunity for telephone companies who cooperated with the administration on warrantless phone taps related to various 9/11 investigations.
If the votes in 2008 are any guide, the bill should be able to pass the House and the Senate. The original bill was approved in 293-129 vote that split Democrats nearly evenly, and was supported by nearly every Republican.
It passed the Senate 69-28, a vote that also split Democrats but saw every Republican vote in favor.